Eagles Optimistic on Jason Peters
PHILADELPHIA (973espn.com) — In wasn't quite the sequel to the 1990 Body Bag game between the Washington Redskins and Eagles but it's pretty clear that Philadelphia lost two significant starters, middle linebacker Jordan Hicks and left tackle Jason Peters, for an extended period of time during their 34-24 win on Monday.
Hicks went down early in the game with what was announced as an ankle injury while Peters injured knee on the first possession of the third quarter. Both were ultimately carted off the field and an NFL source described both issues as serious.
Hicks confirmed in the locker room after practice Saturday that favoring an ankle injury resulted in a calf issue but the middle linebacker was confident he was healthy enough to play against Washington. T
That lasted all of two plays as he collapsed in coverage as Vernon Davis raced past him down the seam for a 31-yard gain. Hicks was helped off but couldn't put any weight on his right leg and was ultimately carted from the sideline. It certainly had the look of an Achilles injury.
"We're praying for him and best wishes for him," fellow LB Nigel Bradham said of Hicks. "That's a freak injury and it's going to hurt us to lose one like that."
With the Eagles playing nickel for most of the night and Mychal Kendricks out with a hamstring, Bradham slid into Hicks' typical role and Najee Goode entered, ultimately playing 49 of the team's 64 defensive snaps on the night. Joe Walker totaled 11 reps as the backup to Hicks in the base defense.
The early word on Peters is a bit better as the Eagles believe he avoided an ACL tear and instead suffered an MCL tear, pending a Tuesday MRI. The former would have been a season-ending injury.
Either way, the 35-year-old veteran will be out for a lengthy period, which could prompt the movement of Lane Johnson to the left side with Halapoulivaati Vaitai getting the first crack at right tackle.
Offensive line coach Jeff Stoutland has made it clear, however, he doesn't want Johnson flipping sides in game without any reps to get used to the footwork and mechanics of switching sides. So, Vaitai handled LT in-game as the swing tackle and actually held up OK in the 30 snaps he played.
Vaitai also performed adequately at right tackle when Johnson went down with a concussion against Arizona and struggled a bit in Carolina when the Panthers were able to game plan around the fact he would be playing.
"I really don't know," Johnson said when asked about moving to LT after the game. "I haven't had any reps there so I'll probably know more this week. I'm fine with it. We're going to be facing pass rushers like DeMarcus Lawrence and Von Miller coming in here so there is really no place to hide."
The versatile Isaac Seumalo would be the top backup behind Johnson and Vaitai with converted college tight end Dillon Gordon possibly getting promoted from the practice squad.
If the Eagles look outside the organization veterans like Branden Albert, Will Beatty are available. At linebacker, the team recently kicked the tires on Donald Butler as well as Sean Spence and Jelani Jenkins.
Butler has extensive starting experience with the then-San Diego Chargers while Jenkins and Spence have started for Miami and Pittsburgh respectively.
-John McMullen covers the Eagles and the NFL for 973espn.com. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @JFMcMullen